Lessons Learned on the Job Search

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

Anatomy of a Loop

  1. Screening call with an internal recruiter; 30% of my interview loops skipped this step
  2. A first round, which is generally a role-fit discussion with the hiring manager (HM). I consider this to be the first round of the loop and for me, 76% of the 25 of these I had were just a casual discussion with the HM. Of the remaining six: four were a panel (two of which had technical components), one was a coding challenge, one was a design challenge
  3. A second round, consisting of one or more people, sometimes as a panel (meaning multiple interviewers are in the video call), sometimes as a string of video calls with individual interviewers. But all pre-scheduled together. Eight of the 13 I went through had a technical bent: four included a technical chat, three design challenge, one coding challenge. Six of them were also panels: one of the design challenges, and three technical chats.
  4. A third round, which is usually the opposite of the second: if they did a panel first, then this is not a panel; and vice-versa. If they have a technical screen and the second round was technical, then this won’t be; and vice-versa. About 29% of my interview loops skipped this step: three of my five were panels, and one of those was technical, the other two were informal chats with a CTO or VP.
  5. Hopefully, an offer. Most of my interview loops skipped this step 🙂 All five of the offers I got had a fairly consistent base, plus 10–20% bonus, but big variation on equity — not just in terms of value, but also type: from no equity to private options to public RSUs. Equity ended up being the deciding factor for me.

What Worked at Each Stage


Recruiter Screen

Hiring Manager Screen

Behavioral Interview

  1. you had to manage someone out
  2. you had to deal with a difficult employee
  3. you had a disagreement with a peer
  4. you promoted someone
  5. your project was late
  6. you failed
  7. you dealt with a DEI issue
  8. you motivated your team
  9. you affected change without using authority
  10. you were part of a large undertaking

Technical Interview


  1. It will likely be a multi-month process, due to the speed at which most companies operate; I would prepare for roughly 3 months
  2. The best thing to get your resume noticed is to make use of your network
  3. When you do have to cold apply, writing a paragraph to the recruiter is worth the investment
  4. A polished, short, beautiful resume is worth the investment
  5. Optimizing your LinkedIn profile for recruiter searches is worth the investment
  6. Feedback, about why you were rejected, is an endangered bald eagle: rare to come across and wondrous to behold
  7. Practicing storytelling for the behavioral interview, and looking for the question behind the question, are both crucial
  8. Practicing leetcode is needed for many interviews at Big Tech companies
  9. Good PowerPoint skillz might come in handy
  10. There are lots of mock interviews available to watch — both behavioral and design — and they help a lot




Software. Management. Shmanagement.

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Gabriel Jiva

Gabriel Jiva

Software. Management. Shmanagement.

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